She sat in her tattered lawn chair in front of the rusted chrome bumper of her beaten up old car with the ragged old vinyl top. She smelled like she needed a bath and I’m sure her sweater that was way to big covered holes in her dresses that she didn’t want anyone to see, but I loved her stories. I’m not sure she was there to watch her grandson play little league baseball or to just be out around all the people. I don’t recall her name but her grandson was a class mate of mine and that’s how we met. I wasn’t much interested in the game but my brother was on a team and Mom would drag me along and I would fill the time with visiting the old woman. Mom didn’t much care for her but allowed me to sit with the old woman as long as she was close enough to keep an eye on us.
When we first met the old woman said “your not like all the other kids out here, your more like I was many years ago.” Anxiously I waited for her to explain, and in time she did “Most just run by me and stare or look at me and then turn away, but you want to know more.” “I’m what a lot of people call a seer or a fortune teller, but I just like being called an old woman.”
Every time I went to the ball field I would find the old woman and she would smile and pat my hand as I sat on the ground next to her to listen to her stories. Some stories were from years ago and some from more recent times but she would always finish every story with “You listen to what I’m tellin you and someday they’ll be your stories.”
And now its time for one of the “Old Woman’s” stories;
This here Horned Toad sat in the shadow of a great big rock dreaming his dreams, that’s what Horned Toad does best, dreaming. Horned Toad dreams of the future, the past and the present and so all the creatures go to the Horned Toad when they need answers. His horns are his armor to guard against those who want to steal his dreams.
One sunny day Snake slithered up to that big old rock and said “Ssssssay Horned Toad do you mind if I slide up to your old rock and cool myself in the shade while you sit there in the shade sleeping.
Horned Toad thought for a minute then agreed. “You can share my shade but you must be quiet and not bother me.”
Snake hissed, “How could I bother you, when all your doing is sleeping.”
Horned Toad grinned and replied, “You crazy Snake, I’m not sleeping, I’m Dreaming.”
Snake was confused and said “sleeping, dreaming its all the ssssame.”
“No dreaming is going into the future. I go to where the future lives, in the shadows. I know you won’t eat me because my dream told me you’re full of mouse.”
Snake was surprised, “ You are right Horned Toad I am full of mouse, I was puzzled why you would share your old rock with me.”
Toad was amused. “Snake, you are looking for shade and I am looking for shadow. Shadow is where dreams live!”
I had forgotten this story until an “Old Woman” ask me if I had ever made Horny Toads. I told her I had given it a try but they just didn’t look like what I wanted them to and someday I would try again. So the other day I was out in the Studio and made another attempt. Sometimes, its just time for something to happen.
I miss the Old Woman, I haven’t a clue where she is or where her grandson ended up. Sometimes I see an Old Woman sittin in a chair and I just want to set beside her while she pats my hand and tells me “You listen to what I’m tellin you and someday they’ll be your stories.”
Sharing the Journey